Monday, November 17, 2014

Mexican Marvels

Do you remember when everyone was saying that the world was going to end in 2012? Movies came out about the end of time, and it was all based on the end of the Mayan Calendar. It's amazing how the internet and media can totally make up stories and people actually believe them and base their lives on them! I know because I was one of them.

Well, I traveled to Mexico this summer. I wanted to see the famous Chichen Itza, one of the new wonders of the world. I wanted to get the real story. I mean, the world didn't end, so... what was 2012 all about?

I was definitely in for a surprise. It's funny how we think we are "informed" and "knowledgeable" because we read things on the internet, and we just take them in as truth without question. One thing I learned from this trip, and from other experiences this past year, is that we really need to be more skeptical to what we see and hear. I was under the impression that the Mayas were a people of ancient Mexico who were really advanced and smart that disappeared off the face of the earth mysteriously. I really believed that!

Well, turns out the Mayans were really smart and amazing mathematicians, but they didn't disappear! They are still alive and kicking in Mexico. I saw them with my own eyes. I heard them speak their native tongue. This was such a shocker for me!

Pyramid at Chichen Itza
The Mayans, just like so many other ancient cultures, were obsessed with the stars. How could they not be? I mean, can you imagine living in a world where you look up at night and see balls of light, moving through they sky, sometimes shooting across the sky, and not knowing what they are? These people studied the heavens and were able to create a calendar based on their observations. But just as anything, everything that has a beginning has an end. Their calendar is a cycle, and December 21, 2012 was the end of that extremely long cycle. 5,126 year cycle, to be exact.

Fortunately, none of the negative predictions for this date came true. The world didn't end, the earth did not collide with anything, there were no major catastrophes. Instead, for the Mayan people, it was a day of celebration and festivities were held to commemorate the date in places all over Central America.

Mexican culture has many traditions that we were able to witness in some of the towns. Women danced with all kinds of objects on their heads in a local restaurant, and we even saw a "Quincea├▒era" getting ready to celebrate her 15th birthday at a church in the town. This is probably what I love most about traveling; seeing and experiencing different cultures and traditions. It really opens your eyes to the rest of the world.

Mexico was great, and if you haven't been, you should definitely take the time to visit when you can. Take some time to learn about the history behind the Mayan Civilization, eat the delicious food that they have to offer... and especially try the "marquesitas" which are like crepes rolled up and filled with cheese or chocolate or nutella, or whatever your heart desires! Truly delicious!

Happy Travels, my friends!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Where Summer Leads Us

The days are still long and the sun is still out. It's still okay to wear shorts and flip flops. This summer has been hot, but I cannot complain. After this past winter season, I thought summer couldn't come soon enough. Well surely, it did, and I am in no rush to see it go. But it hasn't been like every other summer. This summer has been different.

I tried new things this summer. Went on fun adventures, and tasted new foods. I went to big cities and small towns. I went on road trips and took long flights overseas. I took classes, read books, drank wine and ate cheeses. But that's just the normal stuff.

I became a happier person this summer. I am in love with life and my desire for success and freedom have grown ever so greatly. My insatiable wanderlust is content for the time being, as I have visited several places since we last spoke. I feel alive and more inspired than ever. I feel as if I am on a current, or riding a wave. The stagnant period of my life is over. Things are moving, success is coming. 

My actions and motivations have been inspired by the most special person I have met in a really long time. He has a noble, loving heart. He cares deeply about humanity and especially about me. It is important to him that he acts as a positive influence in the lives of those around him. He wants me to be happy, to be successful, and to be free.  I am so lucky to have met him, and so grateful to have him in my life. He has changed everything for me. 

Having this inspiration in my life, I have started to pursue my dreams. I've started putting ideas into action. I have finally taken the first steps in writing a book, something I have always wanted to do. For the first time in my life, the dream of traveling the world for extended periods of time actually looks feasible. I have once again started to think outside of the box.

I've decided to take life by the horns and steer it. I'm not just coming "along for the ride" anymore.  I'm taking control of my life. I want to live it the way I want to live it. If I want to travel to Asia, and stay for 8 months, living on the beaches of Thailand, working everyday from my laptop, writing and creating, then so be it. If I can live somewhere, and spend a fraction of what I spend at home, I can save enough money to then travel to Europe, and perhaps live there for a year. Who knows?

All I know is that I finally know what I want, and I know what I have to do to get it. All I need is the will, determination, and consistency. I am willing to make sacrifices and to work extra hard when I need to. I will do whatever it takes.

Do you know what you want in life? How will you get it?  Would you drop everything to go build and live your dream in another part of the world? Where would you go?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Farewell to Winter Mountain

It's the moment I've been waiting for... at least until recently.

The end of winter. The beginning of spring.

I no longer wait for warm weather. I embrace the cold.

It all changed one day when I was complaining of how cold it was, and that I couldn't wait for winter to be over.  My teeth were chattering, my muscles were tense, I was freezing!

Then someone told me to live in the moment. This is something I tell people all the time. He said, "be in the moment, it's your first winter and it is different, travel to a ski resort and let it fly down the slopes."

That's when the light bulb went off.

After some quick planning, I was on a road trip to Pennsylvania with some girl friends the very next weekend. I have never skied before... at least not on snow, and definitely not successfully. I tried to ski on water once, in Colombia. I was much younger than I am now, and even then I couldn't do it. Granted, I only made one attempt. It was so disastrous that I didn't even give it a second chance. When the boat started moving, I went up and my legs were straight and parallel... for a moment. Then my legs split and the water started hitting me in my face and going up my nose at a very fast rate. It was terrible. It took me a few seconds to realize I needed to let go, or it wasn't going to stop.

Road Trip! 
When we got to the resort, I realized I had an option, and my choice was the sport in which I only had to control one board. The snow board. I started having flashbacks at my skiing experience. I thought snowboarding would be easier, and probably more fun.

Although it wasn't "easy", it was definitely enjoyable.  I immersed in every moment and witnessed it with awe. I felt there. My mind was not at home thinking about the laundry I haven't done yet, it wasn't at work thinking about all the emails I have to write. It's like my mind wasn't even there. It was just me, being there, on a mountain, sitting on a ski lift, jumping down, keeping my back straight, dropping heels, pointing toes, crashing, falling down, laughing, enjoying life and having a good time.

Girls and Snowboards

I let my worries fly down the slopes that day. I let all my frustrations with winter just slip away. I was reminded of where life really is. It's here, and now.

I still look forward to spring; to seeing the flowers and the beautiful colors. But I don't let it take away from my present experience. The snow and the white are also beautiful, and I appreciate that beauty. But that doesn't stop me from taking a weekend getaway trip to Punta Cana next!

I feel that to really experience life to the fullest, you have to be fully present. You can't experience life in the future, and definitely not again in the past. Don't think about it. Just pay attention to it. What's happening now? Are you enjoying it? If not, what can you consciously do to change it? Do that.

Life is much better in the present.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Crossing the Spanish Bridges

Has anyone ever told you to "cross that bridge when you get to it"?

There is something so symbolic about a bridge. It's a connector, a link, a transition. So many things! It allows you to go from where you are, to where you want to be. Why do you think people tell you not to burn them? Bridges make life easier.

But that's not the only reason I love them. I think bridges are beautiful!

Simple but beautiful bridge over a canal in Venice, Italy.

I recently crossed some amazing bridges in the south of Spain. My absolute favorite (and also my new all-time favorite) was the bridge at Ronda. Wow. That's all I can say. It was a breathtaking sight.

Ronda, Spain

El Puente Romano was a pretty awesome bridge, too. It lead to La Mezquita, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. It's a medieval Islamic mosque turned Catholic Christian cathedral. That was a peculiar experience. So much religious contrast in one space. It kind of made it seem like the idea of separation is just plain silly, and should become a thing of the past. It made me think that existing as one would be better than coexisting. Maybe one day the world will agree.

Puente Romano - Cordoba, Spain

This trip to Spain was amazing. Walking across these bridges, with anticipation of what the new land would offer, gave me such a sense of wonder. I knew that only beauty awaited me, and that once it met my eyes, I would greet it with a joy-filled smile. I got to cross some incredible bridges, some of them, metaphorical.

I know where I am, and where I have crossed to. I have crossed to a place where everything I see is beautiful, everything I eat is delicious, every sound I hear is music to my ears. Where life is a holiday, and I'm on vacation.

What bridges will you be crossing? What are you crossing over to? I hope it's something beautiful and happy.

When you are at the bridge, it's time to cross.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Friends, Family and Florida!

I have not written in a while. Not sure if it's because I haven't had time or inspiration. Maybe a combination of both.

I'm on a train now, staring out at a giant lake surrounded by lush greenery... in December! That can only mean one thing: I'm back in Florida :)

I'm excited about experiencing some warm weather for a couple days, but even more excited about seeing my friends and family.

I love my new life in Maryland, but there will always be something so special and close to my heart in Florida.

Relationships are a big part of life, and forming strong bonds makes life so precious. It means being able to spend time away, and upon your return, picking up right where you left off. True friendship means being there through thick and thin, and time away certainly thins things out. I love that within minutes of announcing my trip to Florida, my entire stay was booked with lunches and dinners and nightly outings. It really makes you feel so special when people are excited to have you in town and want to see you.

I believe the secret to having great friends is in being a great friend. I love the people around me like they are my family. My best friends are like my sisters (and a few of them like my brothers). The people of the world are my family. We are all one and we are all related. I think that's what makes life so beautiful to me. I don't see separation, I see oneness.

We have evolved a lot as a human race through the years, but we are not done. I look forward to the days where we see past our differences and see that we really are one and the same. Humanity together is a system, and we belong to the earth. We have a purpose.

All we can do for now is be the change and encourage others to do the same. I am your friend, be mine too. I am your sister, love me as if I had your blood, because that is how I love you. If you want great friends, be a better friend. If you want to be loved, learn to love more openly and freely. Your energy will become so attractive that people will not know what draws them to you, they will only know they want to be around you. That is a good feeling.